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The Mondale Papers at the Minnesota Historical Society

Mondale Image

A Reference to Resources: Walter F. Mondale

Walter F. Mondale was born in Ceylon Minnesota on January 5, 1928 and attended public schools in Heron Lake and Elmore Minnesota. He was a student at Macalester College in Saint Paul and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1951, when he entered the United States Army until 1953. He received his law degree from the University of Minnesota in 1956.

Mr. Mondale's career of public service spanned more than half a century. He began his political career in the Democratic Party working on Hubert H. Humphrey's 1948 Senate campaign and was appointed by Governor Orville Freeman in 1960 as the state's attorney general, a post he was re-elected to in 1962 and 1964. In December 1964, he was appointed to the U.S. Senate after Hubert Humphrey resigned his seat to become Vice President. After re-election to the Senate in 1966 and 1972, he was elected Vice President in 1976 on the Democratic ticket with Jimmy Carter. The Carter/Mondale ticket lost the 1980 presidential election to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush; Mr. Mondale was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for President of the United State in 1984. At the request of President Bill Clinton, he served as Ambassador to Japan from 1993 to 1996. After the death of Senator Paul Wellstone in an airplane accident days before the 2002 U.S. Senate election, Mr. Mondale agreed to enter the race in Wellstone's place and was unsuccessful. He practices law at the Dorsey Law Firm, remains active in public life, and is a resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

This website serves as a gateway to resources about Mr. Mondale's public service career, including his official Senate and Vice Presidential papers, personal papers, and the files of his closest staffers which are held at the Minnesota Historical Society in downtown Saint Paul.


Mondale and Carter ImageFinding Materials in the Mondale Papers at the Minnesota Historical Society:

1. The Finding Aids provide a detailed overview of some of the most important topics and often requested materials. The Finding Aids simplify the process of conducting research by providing a short outline of the topic and then a guides to particular archival records and the Historical Society's locator information. In addition to the Finding Aids, archivists are available at the Minnesota Historical Society to provide assistance.

2. To use the Finding Aids, locate materials of interest. Materials are listed by series and box number, and sometimes a folder name. If you are looking for correspondence on the Boat People, for example, you might find the following:

File Finding

3. To request this file for review, you have to find a History Center locator number. These numbers are in the Inventories and are organized by Senate, VP, and Other (primarily campaign materials). To determine which inventory to peruse, look at the Series List under Finding Aids. It lists all the series titles (e.g. Central Subject Files) alphabetically, and will tell you if the inventory is digital, and which era to look under (e.g. VP). It will also distinguish between processed files and unprocessed files. (Processed files have been reviewed and catalogued by a History Center archivist. Unprocessed files have not and are less organized as a result.) In this example, Central Subject Files are part of the "processed files" under Vice Presidential Files.

4. Once you know the file area, you can go to that section of the menu to find the inventory. For example, the Central Subject files are under VP Inventories.

5. In the inventory, search for Box #3. Central Subject Files [Box 3] has the following locator number: 149.J.11.1B

6. This is the number you write on the Request Slip. These slips are located all around the History Center library. Completed slips should be dropped in the box under the Request Materials sign.

Note: boxes are retrieved from History Center library remote storage and retrieval takes 20-30 minutes. You can request up to five boxes at one time, so select several materials to review. Within 30 minutes (except during the lunch hour), your first box will be brought to your table. Boxes are returned to the Request Materials window.